How You Should Really Be Using Your Salad Spinner

When it comes to stocking a kitchen, there are those home cooks who fall into the minimalist camp — relying on, say, a couple of cast iron skillets, a good chef's knife, and some basic tools in order to prepare meals. Then there are those who fall into the maximalist camp, decking out their workstations with everything from a milk frother to a mandoline slicer. But, whichever camp you're in — or if you fall somewhere in between — chances are you have a salad spinner at home.

When preparing salads, there's really no replacing this indispensable gadget, that helps ensure delicious salads by really and truly drying the greens, which, in turn, allows fat-based dressings to adequately coat the leaves and not just slip right off and accumulate at the bottom of the salad bowl (via Epicurious). But, even those of us sold on salad spinners might not be using them correctly — read on to find out if that's you.

Try submerging the greens in water before lifting them out and spinning them

Here's how most of us think a salad spinner works: You pile the lettuce or greens into the spinner's basket, then place the basket under your sink's faucet and toss the greens around as you rinse them under the water (per Epicurious). Then, you place the basket into the bowl of the spinner, spin away, and voila! Your lettuces are ready to dress and eat. But, as pointed out by the outlet, this method often leaves too much dirt and grit on the greens, since the process of washing them is too quick to adequately clean them.

Instead, both Epicurious and Bon Appétit recommend a different approach to salad spinning. First, place your greens in the spinner basket, then fill the bowl of the spinner with cold water and lower the basket right into the bowl full of water. Using your hands, mix the greens around a bit, then just step away and let the whole thing soak for two or three minutes. Within that time, all the dirt should fall to the bottom of the spinner bowl. Lift out the basket, dump the water from the spinner bowl and rinse the bowl clean, then lower the basket of greens back into the empty spinner and spin dry. The process can be repeated if you're washing some seriously muddy greens, and it results in perfectly dry leaves that — bonus! — are perfectly clean, too.